Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review: Night Trilogy

Book Review: Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."


I was reading this book I thought to myself that I was experiencing a nightmare via the written word. Seriously, I don't think I have ever read anything as depressing and faith challenging. When Elie Wiesel was 15 years old, he and his Jewish family were snatched from his town and deported to Auschwitz. The horrors that he both endured and observed are things no human should ever see, never mind a 15 year old. I have read accounts of the Nazi concentration camps before but this one is told in such a personal and haunting way that I was visibly moved. The day after finishing reading the book I found myself in church, ignoring the sermon and asking God questions about suffering and existence. Why? How? These are questions the author considers as well as he speaks of his person hell (literally) of having his family, humanity, and faith ripped away from him by the genocidal Nazi war machine. I felt shaken thinking about the evil, true evil that resulted in a third of the world's Jewish population being exterminated while the rest of the world stood by . . . and did nothing.

This book is important. It is a personal record, written by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, of the terrible possibilities that racism and xenophobia can result in. I felt shaken, angry, and a little despondent as I read it.

The other two books are works of semi-fiction. Based on his life experiences and with himself as the main character Wiesel explores some dark themes. "Dawn" is the short story of a concentration camp survivor who becomes a terrorist in Palestine and how he ends up being faced with the choice of becoming what he hates - an executioner. "The Accident" is story about how to move on after suffering and explores themes of despair, suicide, and hope.

All three stories are well written and poignant, but "Night" is the most moving. I'm glad I read all three together though as just reading "Night" would have been way too depressing. Everyone should read this book. Although it is violent and has some mild language and sexual references, it paints a picture of the evil of human nature and what is capable of. It also helps one to know and have empathy with the Jewish race and what they experienced in the Holocaust. I rate this book 4.7 ninja stars out of 5.

1 comment:

Lifelines said...

Sounds like a harsh read. Not sure if I could get through it. In Gr. 12 (about 30 years ago!) our history class went to the Symposium on the Holocaust in Vancouver, and I will never forget the images and videos I saw there.